Go Gluten-Free

More and more I’m seeing gluten-free options in the grocery stores. Gluten is a protein molecule found in wheat, rye and barley. There is a dramatic rise in the number of people who are finding out that they are sensitive to wheat and wheat-based products.

If you look at human evolution and at what we ate 2.6 million years ago, grains were not on the menu. We evolved as humans eating predominately wild game, seafood, worms and insects, seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It wasn’t until about 5,000-10,000 years ago that farming began, and humans began eating grains. This is a very short timeframe in the scope of human evolution, during which our digestive machinery was formed.

Based on how our human digestion systems developed, it could be argued that we are not designed to eat grains at all. Regardless of this, grains have become a staple in many people’s diets. The problem today is that we are eating highly processed grains and lots of them. Many people are finding that they feel much better when they eliminate, or at least decrease, wheat and other grains from their diet.

You may not think that you are intolerant because you eat wheat all the time and feel “fine.” This doesn’t mean that you are not being affected at some level. You can find out if you are sensitive to gluten through a variety of blood tests, but the easiest way is to completely eliminate all grains except corn, rice, buckwheat and millet from your diet for 3 to 4 weeks. If you feel better when you are not eating it, you are most likely gluten intolerant.

Damage to the intestines is the most talked about consequence, but gluten can also affect the nervous system, hormonal system, liver, blood system and musculoskeletal system for people with intolerance.

Conditions that are associated with gluten sensitivity vary greatly. A few symptoms of gluten intolerance are: skin disorders, gas, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, ADD and chronic fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have a gluten intolerance. You should consider eliminating gluten from your diet. It may seem hard at first, as wheat is in a lot of foods (make sure to read labels), but the foods you will be giving up for the most part will be processed, sweetened foods that you should avoid anyway.

Tolerable Foods:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Chickpea flour
  • Millet
  • Bean noodles
  • Potato flour
  • Rice
  • Sorghum flour
  • Tapioca
  • Peas flour
  • Taro
  • Yam flour

Intolerable Foods:

  • Barley
  • Couscous
  • Brown flour
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Wheat
  • Teff
  • Udon
  • Pastas (unless corn or rice)

Yours in Health,

Roger Nahas

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Image courtesy of Bern@t on flickr.


1 thought on “Go Gluten-Free”

  1. nice article, albeit brief. You may want to check out Celiac Disease and put something up about stores/restos that have good gluten free options for those considering it, non?


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